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Mr. Selfridge, Season 4 (PBS/ITV/2016)

The ITV/PBS series, “Mr. Selfridge.” has come to an end with Season 4 and a sad parting it is, after getting to know Harry Gordon Selfridge (played well by American actor Jeremy Piven) from his department store’s grand opening in an unfashionable western edge of Oxford Road in London in 1909.

This season takes place twenty years on, in 1929-30, with Mr. Selfridge’s self-destructive behavior exposing itself to the world:  excessive gambling, floozy-chasing (especially the Dolly Sisters – the Kardashians of their day – untalented sexpots who captured the limited attention of the public), risky financial dealings, etc.

With his first wife dead in Season 2, and his mother’s passing here, he is essentially a rootless man, following his “instincts” rather than his normally sensible hard-head. His two oldest children are grown with families of their own and the youngest two are emotionally neglected. But his son, Gordon (Greg Austin), is primed to take over the business when his papa is finally ousted as CEO of the corporation.

Another strong plot-line concerns, Mr. Grove (Tom Goodman-Hill), with a terminal cancer diagnosis, and his coming together not only with his motherless tribe, but with Miss Mardle (Amanda Abington) now back in the picture and willing to marry him, so his storyline successfully ends. And then there is Ron Cook as Mr. Crabb, one of the senior staff, who is allowed to showcase his greatest asset as an actor:  his subtlety. His is gorgeous work, along with Sam Swann, Kika Markham, Deborah Corneilius, Aisling Loftus, Trystan Gravelle, Calum Callaghan, and, especially, Katherine Kelly as Lady Mae.

The scripts for this series have been consistently strong, allowing the quality acting to match the superb CGI (the upper stories were built post-shooting), the period décor, the excellent costume-designs, etc., all contribute to making this an excellent investment.

As the sole American, Piven, has proven himself yet again as a quality actor, not just a personality-type. The many writers (including creator Andrew Davies) and the many forceful directors bring everything to life, giving this iconic department store a historic view.